NORMAN — A Republican state representative from Norman remains the winner after a manual recount Thursday in the race for his House seat, but the legal battle over the post is not over yet.
After a judge ordered the recount in the race for the House District 45 seat in east Norman, results show Rep. Aaron Stiles held a 16-vote margin over Democratic challenger Paula Roberts.
Roberts had requested the recount after preliminary results showed she lost to Stiles by 18 votes.
Cleveland County Election Board Secretary Jim Williams said Roberts picked up two votes after the recount but not enough to change the outcome. The results will be sent to the state election board for certification, Williams said.
But Roberts still is alleging in a separate petition 10 different irregularities she claims make it “impossible to determine with mathematical certainty which candidate is entitled to a certificate of election.” Among the allegations is that ineligible voters were allowed to cast ballots while some validly registered voters were not. She also alleges that absentee ballots were improperly secured and that mistakes were made with both provisional ballots and voting machines.
“What they’ve done is that they feel the vote is so close they’re just trying to throw everything plus the kitchen sink and trying to do a fishing expedition just to find something,” said Stiles, who is seeking his second term in office.
Williams has acknowledged his office made mistakes after a box containing 60 absentee ballots was discovered two days after the Nov. 6 election. However, after those ballots were counted, the original 18-vote margin was unchanged.
Cleveland County District Judge Tracy Schumacher will hear arguments in the petition for irregularities Tuesday, and one possible outcome could be that she orders a new election.
“You either have a winner or you have a new election,” said Assistant District Attorney Carol Dillingham, who represents the Election Board in the hearings.